Enough was enough.
Kevin Garnett was tired. Dog tired. He wasn’t going to let these young greyhounds from the Rocky Mountains run him around any longer. This Gallinari dude was driving him crazy…
…one overtime, cool. Two? Whatever. Three overtimes?
Time to end it.
Garnett found his stroke in the 3rd overtime, scoring 6 points on his patented turn around, fade away jumper that doesn’t even dust the net as the ball goes through the hoop – leading his Boston Celtics to a grueling 118-144 triple overtime victory over the Denver Nuggets.
Jason Terry hit a three point jumper with 1:33 remaining in the third overtime, then made a steal on the defensive end to nail the coffin shut on a Denver team that just didn’t want their nine game winning streak to end.
On the defensive end, Garnett was matched up on Danilo Gallinari, the small forward from Italy whose nickname, Gallo, means “Rooster”, and the smaller rooster ran Garnett all over the court in the overtime periods, just as Andre Miller was wreaking havoc and Ty Lawson was just plain clutch.
…but in the end, when exhaustion trumps all else, all it takes is for one grumpy old man to stand up and say that he’s taking his ball and going home.
“It seems like Garnett has a huge heart and wanted to win the game and he made some big time shots,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “His range has improved and it’s about time he get that respect.”
Karl’s team was the hottest in the NBA coming into the game, riding that bloated 9 game winning streak and sitting at 32-19 without an all star in the bunch, something that mystifies Garnett. “Hard to believe these guys don’t have an all-star,” Garnett said. “That baffles me … Gallinari, Lawson … they have deserving guys.”
Nuggets’ point guard Ty Lawson scored a game-high 29 points – including a smooth running one hander coming across the lane to send the game into overtime, also spending 9 dimes while Andre Miller added 15 and 6 off the bench.
Gallinari was ice cold for much of the game, but came alive in the overtime periods, using his speed advantage over Garnett, scoring 18 and coming down with 10. Gallinari averages 20 points per game to lead Denver, but was held to three points in the first half.
Garnett scored 20 points overall and pulled down a game high 18 boards and Jason Terry added 26 points off the bench, including the game winner as the Celtics extended their season high winning streak to 7 while ending the Nuggets’ nine game streak. Garnett was 3 of 4 from the field in overtime after missing 14 of his previous 20 shots.
Paul Pierce registered a triple-double, scoring 27 and grabbing 14 boards will dishing out a game high 14 dimes and Jeff Green kicked in with 17 points, including a three pointer with 23 seconds left in the first overtime to tie it at 99 and send it to the second overtime.
With the Nuggets leading by one in the second overtime, Lawson hit another clutch jumper to put the Nuggets up 107-104 with 18 seconds remaining…then Paul Pierce got into the action with a 3 point posterization of Andre Miller, to tie the game at 107-107 with 5 seconds left to send the game to the third period of free basketball.
While Garnett and Gallinari waged battle in the third overtime, Jason Terry hit a 3-pointer with 1:33 remaining in the third overtime to put the Celtics ahead 116-113. Terry was 5 of 14 from the parking lot and had missed five consecutive 3-point shots in the first two overtimes before launching the game winner….then went ahead and made a fantastic steal to put a little icing on the win.
The Nuggets now travel to Toronto to try and start a new streak on Tuesday night against the Raptors and then catch the redeye to Brooklyn to tip off with the Nets on Wednesday night while the Celtics have a redeye of their own to catch for a game tomorrow night in Charlotte against the pesky Bobcats, then return home to host the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night.
The Nuggets are a dangerous team. They are athletic and they run the floor like race dogs, and they are likely going to be there in the end for the Western Conference. What was striking about them is how calm they are, how mature they seem – a trademark of a George Karl coached team – and it was in full effect after the game.
“We’re not into moral victories, but it was one of those games,” veteran Andre Miller said. “It was a fun game and I’m sure everybody was tired.”
Especially Garnett. That’s why he took his ball and went home.